As President Biden arrived in Texas Sunday for his first trip to the U.S.-Mexico border since taking office, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott hand-delivered a scathing letter to the president, criticizing his border policies.
In his letter, Abbott slammed the president’s visit as a “$20 billion too little and two years too late.” He also noted that the president’s tour avoids areas where mass illegal immigration occurs “and sidesteps the thousands of angry Texas property owners whose lives have been destroyed by your border policies.”
“Even the city you visit has been sanitized of the migrant camps which had overrun downtown El Paso because your administration wants to shield you from the chaos that Texans experience on a daily basis,” Abbott said, alleging that the chaos was the direct result of the Biden administration failing to enforce federal immigration laws.
Abbott said the federal government achieved “historically low levels of illegal immigration” under President Trump. But under the Biden administration, Abbott said, “America is suffering the worst illegal immigration in the history of our country.”
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“Your open-border policies have emboldened the cartels, who grow wealthy by trafficking deadly fentanyl and even human beings,” he said. “Texans are paying an especially high price for your failure, sometimes with their very lives, as local leaders from your own party will tell you if given the chance.”
Abbott implored Biden to enforce federal immigration laws already on the books and to designate Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations.
Fox News Digital has reached out to the White House, seeking comment on Abbott’s letter.
President Joe Biden shakes hands with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott after Abbott handed him a letter about the border at El Paso International Airport in El Paso Texas, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Speaking to reporters later Sunday, Abbott said Biden’s border visit is “nothing but for show unless (the administration) begins to enforce the immigration laws already that exist in the United States of America that are contained in the letter that was provided to the president today.”
Asked what the president’s response to Abbott was, the governor replied: “He said he wanted to work with us on it.”
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Biden planned to spend a few hours in El Paso, currently the biggest corridor for illegal crossings, in large part to Nicaraguans fleeing repression, crime and poverty in their country. They are among migrants from four countries who are now subject to quick expulsion under new rules enacted by the Biden administration in the past week that drew strong criticism from immigration advocates.
FILE: U.S. military guard El Paso’s border with Mexico, seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022.
(AP Photo/Christian Chavez, File)
The president was expected to meet with border officials to discuss migration as well as the increased trafficking of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, which are driving skyrocketing numbers of overdoses in the U.S.
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Biden was scheduled to visit the El Paso County Migrant Services Center and meet with nonprofits and religious groups that support migrants arriving to the U.S. It was not clear whether Biden would talk to any migrants.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.